Emma Raducanu said she’s “grateful to have shared the court” with “inspirational” Serena Williams as she thrashed the tennis legend in their first-ever meeting.
Raducanu won 6-4, 6-0 in the first round at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati – the first time the women have played each other.
It follows Williams revealing earlier this month that she is “evolving away from tennis”, with the US Open in a few weeks expected to be her final tournament.
Raducanu put on a polished performance to wrap up the match in just over an hour, taking the second set to love.
There is a 20-year age gap between the two women and Williams won her first grand slam in 1999, three years before her British opponent was born.
“We all need to just honour Serena and her amazing career,” Raducanu told the crowd after her win.
“I’m so grateful for the experience to have been able to play her and for our careers to have crossed over. Everything she has achieved is so inspirational and it was a true to honour to share the court with her.”
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The win should also give her confidence in the next round against Victoria Azarenka – and going into the US Open, the tournament she sensationally won last year.
The 19-year-old has failed to get near that performance at subsequent grand slams and lost in the second round at Wimbledon this summer.
Williams fans can still cling to the fairytale possibility she could do something special at Flushing Meadows, but the odds are firmly against the 40-year-old adding to her 23 grand slams.
Revealing her plans to call time on her career, she wrote in Vogue: “I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it.”
Image: Serena will compete in the US Open at the end of August, set to be her final tournament. Pic: AP
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me,” she added.
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”
Source : Sky News